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Re: Terminology Question concerning Web Architecture and Linked Data

From: Frank Manola <fmanola@acm.org>
Date: Wed, 25 Jul 2007 16:44:24 -0400
Message-Id: <15F90AEB-9281-4AD4-9936-74E454F28C3E@acm.org>
Cc: "Tim Berners-Lee" <timbl@w3.org>, <www-tag@w3.org>, <semantic-web@w3.org>, "Linking Open Data" <linking-open-data@simile.mit.edu>
To: "Chris Bizer" <chris@bizer.de>

Chris--

This probably indicates that I haven't gone back far enough in the  
prior discussion (or still don't understand various details of the  
Web architecture), but what's wrong with "representation"?  That is,  
you're asking for "a term for "the information which you get about  
the thing identified by it when you look up a URI".  I thought what  
you got back when you dereferenced a URI was a "representation".  And  
I thought that the difference between dereferencing the URI of an  
information resource vs. that of a non-information resource is that:

(a) for a non-information resource there's supposed to be some  
indirection messaging that goes on between the original dereferencing  
and you getting a representation back, and

(b) the representation you get back doesn't contain all the  
"essential characteristics" of the identified resource.

But you still get a representation back.  That is in fact what your  
tutorial says. Under the heading "Dereferencing HTTP URIs", the last  
sentence of the bullet that describes what happens for non- 
information resources says "In a second step, the client dereferences  
this new URI and *gets a representation* describing the original non- 
information resource" [my emphasis].

I think I understand the sort of distinction you're getting at,  
something like, as Pat suggests, the difference between getting a  
copy (of sorts) of the thing itself vs. getting a "description" (in  
some sense) of it, but if that's it, I'm not sure an entirely new  
piece of terminology is what's needed.  Operationally the only way we  
have of knowing whether a URI names an information resource or a non- 
information resource is (at least in the tutorial) whether  
redirection happens when we dereference it.  In the scenarios we're  
talking about, the redirection is (as I understand it) ultimately to  
the URI of an *information resource* (with its own URI) that  
describes (in some sense) the original non-information resource.  The  
draft TAG finding a http://www.w3.org/2001/tag/doc/ 
httpRange-14/2007-05-31/HttpRange-14 refers to this redirected-to  
information resource as an "associated information resource" (without  
necessarily intending to introduce that as a defined term).   
Following those lines though, how about calling what you're after an  
"associated representation"?  That is, when you dereference the URI  
of a non-information resource, what you get back (after redirection)  
is an "associated representation" (the details of the association  
being determined by the details of the redirection).

-Frank

On Jul 25, 2007, at 12:44 PM, Chris Bizer wrote:

> Hi Frank,
>
>> I'd seriously suggest you look for some alternative  to "data  
>> item" for the concept in question.
>
> OK, but this leads to a question which I accutally wanted to try to  
> avoid asking on this list.
>
> Hmm, I will do it anyway and see what happens ;-)
>
> Question 4: What term should we use instead?
>
> Cheers,
>
> Chris
>
>
> --
> Chris Bizer
> Freie Universitšt Berlin
> Phone: +49 30 838 54057
> Mail: chris@bizer.de
> Web: www.bizer.de
>
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Frank Manola" <fmanola@acm.org>
> To: "Chris Bizer" <chris@bizer.de>
> Cc: "Tim Berners-Lee" <timbl@w3.org>; <www-tag@w3.org>; <semantic- 
> web@w3.org>; "Linking Open Data" <linking-open-data@simile.mit.edu>
> Sent: Wednesday, July 25, 2007 6:07 PM
> Subject: Re: Terminology Question concerning Web Architecture and  
> Linked Data
>
>
>> Chris--
>>
>> I appreciate that we run into terminology conflicts all the time  
>> around here, but I'd seriously suggest you look for some  
>> alternative to "data item" for the concept in question.  An awful  
>> lot of people (particularly those involved with databases) are  
>> used to seeing "data  item" refer to something like a property or  
>> attribute (like "name" or  "age").  More specifically, they're  
>> used to seeing records as  containing multiple data items (or  
>> their values).  From that point of  view, the sentence "When you  
>> interpret the Web of Data as a set of  interlinked databases, a  
>> data item would equal a record in a specific  database." looks  
>> particularly strange.  As I say, I understand the  inevitability  
>> of terminology conflicts, but ...?
>>
>> Cheers!
>>
>> --Frank
>>
>> On Jul 25, 2007, at 10:12 AM, Chris Bizer wrote:
>>
>>>
>>> Hi Tim,
>>>
>>>> I can't think of a term for "the information which you get about  
>>>> the thing identified by it  when you look up a URI" which works  
>>>> for me.
>>>
>>>> It has of course the term "Representation" which connects an  
>>>> Information Resource and the (metadata, bits) pair which you get  
>>>> back, which is different.
>>>
>>> As we did not want to repeat the definition all over the  
>>> tutorial, we ended up with a term called "data item".
>>>
>>> Within section 2.1 of the tutorial, we define the term as: "The  
>>> term data items refers to the description of a non-information  
>>> resource that a client obtains by dereferencing a specific URI  
>>> that identifies this non-information resource." (http:// 
>>> sites.wiwiss.fu- berlin.de/suhl/bizer/pub/LinkedDataTutorial/ 
>>> #aliases)
>>>
>>> Note that the definition is a bit more specific than your  
>>> sentence above, as it is restricted to non-information resources  
>>> and not things in general (assuming that your term "thing" refers  
>>> to non- information resources as well as information resources).
>>>
>>> We were also struggling to find a good word that matches the  
>>> concept and have chosen "data item" in the end as it somehow  
>>> relates to the overall term "Linked Data" and as we hope that  
>>> people from the database community will understand the second  
>>> informal definition of the term: "When you interpret the Web of  
>>> Data as a set of interlinked databases, a data item would equal a  
>>> record in a specific database."
>>>
>>> Cheers
>>>
>>> Chris
>>>
>
Received on Wednesday, 25 July 2007 20:45:39 GMT

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